To prevent a population of implosion, countries need to positively support families.
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There is a dangerous message rearing its head recently and it is that couples who have more than two children should be charged a lifelong tax to offset any damage to the environment. Perth medical specialist Professor Barry Walters called for parents to be charged $5000 a head for every child after their second, and an annual tax of up to $800.
Writing in the latest Medical Journal of Australia, he also suggested that couples who were sterilised would be eligible for carbon credits under the controversial proposal.
He has been joined in his call by Prof Walters, an obstetrician at King Edward Memorial Hospital.
What planet are they living on?
The UN Population Division (which is full of population doomsday sayers) itself admits that 79 countries, including several dozen in the less developed world, now have fertility rates that are below the level needed to ensure the long-term survival of the population. Most of the rest are likely to cross this demographic fault line over the next few decades.
There is a real population crisis, of course. But it is one of aging and dying populations, for which there seems to be no easy solution. It is a crisis that, by reducing the amount of human capital available, will have a dramatic and neative impact on every aspect of life. Peter Drucker, the late management guru, wrote way back in 1997 that "The dominant factor for business in the next two decades — absent war, pestilence, or collision with a comet — is not going to be economics or technology. It will be demographics."
Drucker was particularly concerned with the "increasing underpopulation of the developed countries," but a decade later this reproductive malaise has spread even to the less developed world, and is a truly global phenomenon.
Science shows that the world's population is due to fall dramatically, not rise uncontrollably. To recklessly seek to curb procreation in countries that are, or soon will be, dying will only compound the tragedy.
People are our greatest resource. Everyone, rich or poor, is a unique creation with something priceless to offer to the rest of us. Governments need to support couples and families in order to make child-bearing and rearing a positive option again.